This Woman’s Apple Watch Detected Her Severe Thyroid Issue
Heather Hendershot’s new Apple Watch started to beep one night when she was watching TV with her husband. The watch warned her that her heart rate was around 120 beats per minute — above normal for a 25-year-old who’s just hanging out, she told The Topeka Capital-Journal.
The watch continued beeping every 10 minutes, warning Hendershot that something was off. At first, Hendershot says she thought the watch was just being funky, but when she timed her heartbeats herself, she saw that it was accurate.
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According to the watch, her heartbeat got up to 160 beats per minute that night. So, the next day, Hendershot and her freaked-out husband went to an urgent-care clinic. “I thought I might be sick and my body was just fighting infection, but my husband is a worry wart,” she said.
Urgent care sent her to the local ER where blood tests found that Hendershot actually had moderate to severe hyperthyroidism (!!), which happens when your thyroid (a small, butterfly-shaped gland in the front of your neck) sends too much of the hormone thyroxine into your bloodstream.
About one in 100 people in the U.S. have hyperthyroidism, according to the National Institutes of Health, although women are more likely to develop it than men.
The condition can speed up someone’s metabolism and cause sudden weight loss, an irregular heartbeat, sweating, nervousness, or irritability.
How the heck did Hendershot never notice any of these symptoms before? Even her doctor told The Topeka Capital-Journal that her case was pretty bizarre.
“My reaction was to smile at her and pause. I asked her twice at first and a third time later, ‘Wait a minute, you didn’t feel anything?’” said Alan Wynne, M.D., an endocrinologist at the Cotton O’Neil Diabetes and Endocrinology center at Stormont Vail. “I’ve been doing this 25 years and it’s the first time ever I’ve heard someone tell me they didn’t notice anything and were later diagnosed with severe hyperthyroidism.”
Hendershot now says she’s pretty thankful for that Apple Watch. “If I hadn’t been wearing it, I wouldn’t have known anything was wrong,” she said.